Why the Oil In Your Air Compressor Matters

Why the Oil In Your Air Compressor Matters

Nearly every manufacturing plant depends on compressors. These components, which are frequently referred to as the “heart” of any air or gas system, need specific care, especially with regard to lubrication. Experts of air compressor manufacturers in India can help you understand the operation of the compressors as well as the impacts of the system on the lubricant, which lubricant to choose, and what oil analysis tests to be carried out. 

Compressor Types and Functions

Although there are many distinct compressor types, they all serve essentially the same purpose. By lowering a gas’s overall volume, compressors are made to increase its pressure. A compressor can be conceptualised as a pump that produces gas, to put it simply. The fundamental distinction between the two is that while a pump merely pressurises and carries liquid through a system, a compressor simply reduces volume and moves gas through one. Positive displacement and dynamic are the two broad categories into which compressors can be split. Positive-displacement compressors include reciprocating, rotary, and diaphragm types.

Effects on Lubricants

The type of strain the lubricant may experience while in use is one of the key aspects to take into account before choosing a compressor lubricant. Moisture, severe heat, compressed gas and air, metal particles, gas solubility, and hot discharge surfaces are frequently lubricant stressors in compressors.

Remember that gas compression can harm lubricants and cause viscosity to noticeably decrease along with evaporation, oxidation, carbon deposition, and condensation due to moisture accumulation. You can use this knowledge to focus your search on the best compressor lubricant after you are aware of the major issues that the lubricant may cause.

Lubricant Selection

Strong candidate lubricants would have demulsibility qualities, anti-wear and corrosion inhibitor ingredients, and superior oxidation stability. Additionally, synthetic base stocks might function better across a wider temperature range. The health of the compressor will depend on having the right lubricant. Referencing the instructions from the original equipment maker is the first step (OEM). Depending on the type of compressor, the internal components being lubricated and the viscosities of the compressor lubricant can differ significantly. The manufacturer’s recommendations can serve as a good place to start.

Next, think about the gas that is being compressed because it has a big impact on the lubricant. Problems with high lubricant temperatures may result from air compression. Gases containing hydrocarbons have a propensity to dissolve lubricants, which gradually reduces viscosity.

Chemically inert gases like ammonia and carbon dioxide may interact with the lubricant to reduce viscosity while also causing soaps to form in the system. When there is too much moisture in the lubricant, chemically active gases including oxygen, chlorine, sulphur dioxide, and hydrogen sulphide can create sticky deposits or turn severely corrosive.

Additionally, consider the conditions that the compressor lubricant is exposed to. Based on the OEM’s advice, synthetic lubricants are routinely used in compressors. In these situations, you might wish to put off changing the lubricant until after the warranty has run out.

If you currently use a mineral-based lubricant in your application, moving to a synthetic version must be justified because it is frequently more expensive. Of course, a synthetic lubricant can be a suitable choice if your oil analysis findings point out certain issues. Make sure, though, that you are dealing with the system’s root causes rather than just treating the symptoms of a problem.

Which synthetic lubricants are most appropriate for use with compressors? The most common substances utilised are polyalkylene glycols (PAGs), polyalphaolefins (POAs), a few diesters, and polyolesters. Depending on the lubricant you are replacing and the application, you should decide which of these synthetics to use.

Polyalphaolefins typically provide an excellent substitute for mineral oils since they are oxidation resistant and have a long lifespan. Polyalkylene glycols that are not soluble in water have good solubility and aid in keeping compressors clean. Although some esters can struggle with too much moisture in the system, they can still be more soluble than PAGs.


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